Falsifying SPC Data - What type of disciplinary action would you take



What type of disciplinary action would you take against a department supervisor who has falsified SPC Data sheets.

This isn't the first time this supervisor has done this - but this is the only time I could prove it to upper management. The sheets were filled out and signed by this person for products that were processed on the day he was on vacation.


Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource

Without knowing anything about your business and its disciplinary policy, the impact of false SPC info to the end-user, etc. I'll risk some thoughts.

First, if you have a discipline policy, follow it. A standard policy might go something like this:
First offense, verbal warning.
Second offense, written warning.
Third offense, written warning plus 3 day unpaid suspension.
Fourth offense, dismissal.
Disciplinary action plan may be accelerated at the discretion of manager dependent upon the seriousness of the offense and its impact upon safety of other employees and/or customer.

But practically....if this has been happening and management has not done anything about it prior to now you probably aren't going to see much happen unless you actually formalize a complaint.

Good luck.



Disciplinary action should be Corrective Action directed at his Supervisor. Chances are that Management would not take it as serious as you. That does not mean that they are right. As a Supervisor, he enjoys the privilege of being forgiven and has the support of Management because he obviously "puts out product". They would probably say that only you know that he was on vacation and that he falsified the record. Tread carefully on this one. I'm not even sure you can cite a nonconformance against something, other than your Internal procedure that probably says when the readings are taken, you sign the document. An outside auditor would have to have access to your personnel vacation schedule and suspect something was awry. That's my opinion. Be prepared to explain how this came to your attention without appearing to have zeroed in on this individual for other reasons. Corrective Action requires a response that you keep on file. You say you can't prove previous falsifications. How so? Is it a hunch? Somebody tell you? Look for lack of support on this one.


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
I’m with energy on this one. Tread carefully if you pursue this further.

Here is another slant on things: what caused this supervisor to falsify data?

My guess, energy is probably right again. Your organization has a Product Out mentality and not a Customer In mentality. Trying to discipline the supervisor might work to your detriment above anything else. For him to do this, the supervisor either doesn’t know the importance of this data (training issue), understands a different reward system (product out gets a high rating) or if you are right, just doesn’t give a hoot (perhaps a 6% chance of that being the cause).

Do your homework and do a good cause-and-effect diagram to determine the inputs to this failure.



Michael T

Hi Willy,

Gotta agree with Energy & Kevin on this one - it's a pretty sticky situation.

One suggestion to reduce the chance it recurrs would be to show this supervisor the effects false/erroneous data has on an SPC program. It sounds to me like this individual doesn't comprehend the importance of accurate data and doesn't realize the consequences gundecking data-sheets has on keeping a process in control.

My knee-jerk reaction would be to choke the @*(#&$* out of this person... *chuckle*

Good luck with this one!!




I'll be a little more specific. We powder coat as a sub-contractor for a company who supplies seat mechanisms to the auto industry. We have a document called PPIS (Paint Process Information Sheet). This document is supplied with the product when it's shipped to the customer(we're not certified to QS yet). This sheet lists several variables that we try to control during the powder coating process. Examples, Water temperatures, pH levels, titration levels, oven temperature, conveyer line speed, type of powder used and what lot# it came from, mil thickness and cure of five consecutive parts as they come off the line from inspection. Because I knew that the supervisor was going to be gone that day I decided to go see if the Asst. supervisor needed any assistance with anything relating to QS. While I was waiting to talk to him I noticed the PPIS sheet was completely filled out except for the quantity of parts coated. He had even filled out the mil thickness and cure tests for five consecutive parts - this wasn't possible because the parts hadn't even been coated yet. What was even more disturbing is that he filled out this sheet and signed & dated it for the day he wasn't even here.

I have written 20 corrective actions concerning this supervisor over the last 8 months. Shouldn't that be enough! Please help.


Fully vaccinated are you?
While I agree with energy, I would, were I the person with the power, consider firing the person outright on the basis of fraud.

No matter what prompted the 'incident', fraud is unacceptable at any time for any reason. Among other things, fraud carries the explosive potential for legal problems. If you were involved in an avionics contract, for example, and it was found out by the 'wrong' person, you'd be up the preverbial creek. Remember the not-so-long-ago ValueJet crash where the sub-contractor falsified data?

Fraud is fraud. I would be surprised if fraud is not grounds for immediate termination in your company.

I'll say it one last time. Falsifying data is fraud. Fraud is not acceptable for any reason - ever.

(As Bugs Bunny says from time to time: "Ain't I a stinker?")

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 20 July 2001).]

Al Dyer

Wholeheartedly agree,

In some industries this type of activity is commonplace, we all know the inspector that says "well, it's good enough, ship it". The rub comes where there are safety/environmental aspects. In these cases, human life could at peril and a person intentionally falsifying such documantation should be relieved of duty.

In your case it is a Manager faking data, if he or she does it it will become apparent to the lower levels of personnel that lying and cheating is an acceptable practice.

Most manuals I have seen address certain levels of discipinary action for certain offences, but at the end of the document is a list of offences that lead to automatic loss of job.

As posted above there is a very thin line to walk and make sure that you have your ducks in a row before confronting management. Maybe they are the ones who started and continue to participate in the deception!

Believe me, it happens.

Jim Evans


What a mess. Marc and Al really hit the salient points. It would seem that even with 20 CARs in 8 months this clown still has the support of your upper management. But Marc is right, fraud is fraud and this type of thing helps promote an atmosphere where cheating is not only acceptable but rewarded. One of the ironies is that the same upper management bozos that accept this type of behavior would be the first to complain if someone within the company was stealing tools and supplies.

My advice would be to keep a personal journal with as much information as you can including supporting evidence in case something should happen and you end up in litigation.

Good Luck,


barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
been there and marc/al are right on...And YES It stinks.
I went to personnel, and said I had an issue i needed to know how to handle......Mine was with my own boss...so it was even more sticky. To my dismay, I found he had been complaining about me not supporting him (ie not going along with his BS/lies/fraud) SO that was a whole new bed of nails....I did a journal, but he eventually was let go (downsized)...I was job hunting as my only way out. Management was supporting him, cause he had their ear....it finially came to light as who was right, but it took a year!!! so tread carefully.
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